As a business owner or a highly valued cog in a company wheel, it can often at times seem almost impossible to find a spare hour in the day to dedicate to exercise.
As important as we know it is, too often exercise takes a back seat as we play catch up on that presentation due next week, or quite simply we're not willing to give up an hour of family time to do so.
Now, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of the long list of benefits to exercise particularly as you move into your Thirties, Forties, Fifties & beyond, but I’m going to do so anyway.
Exercise is PROVEN to help with the following:
1. Improve the amount of energy you burn (this means you can eat more banana bread with your morning coffee without putting on extra weight. Not only that, it keeps your metabolism firing which slows dramatically in your Forties & Fifties)
2. Improve muscle mass (helps to keep you strong as you age)
3. Improve posture (very important as you age)
4. Reduce inflammation which slows ageing
5. Enhance mobility & balance
6. Improve sleep
7. Reduce stress
8. Boost hormones that control mood
9. Prevent Disease (important if you plan on staying alive)
So…… have I convinced you that exercise has a few good benefits to it yet? I hope so because without it you’re on a slippery slope, my friend.
Now that we know the benefits around exercise, what are some practical ways we can create an additional hour in the day to start valuing our health & longevity just as much as we value our career ambitions?
Let's run through my top 10 time-saving hacks for a busy person like yourself!
1. Pre-made Meals
Did you know on average we spend on average 12-hours a week in the kitchen cooking and preparing meals. That's a fair amount of time, particularly if you don’t have much to spare.
Why not cut that time down by purchasing pre-made meals?
10 years ago I wouldn’t have given this advice as there wasn’t much in the way of good choices for pre-made meals. Now in 2019, we have tons.
Take a look at YouFoodz for example.
For just $9 you can have a fantastic healthy meal delivered to your door.
Does this mean you need to eat 3 pre-made meals a day? Of course not.
Instead of dropping by the local cafe and waiting 30-minutes for your chicken parmigiana, maybe you spend that 30-minutes instead at the gym next to work throwing up a few weights?
If that's not possible, what about dinner time?
Instead of slaving away at the stove top after work for an hour, maybe you have time to join that local squash club on the way home a few times a week & just zap your meal when you walk in the door?
There's a number of different options that will work in creating time here, but it’s a matter of you doing what works best with your schedule.
This one seems straightforward but done right, it could in fact completely transform your day. Delegating stupid repetitive tasks in the life can free up more time than you could ever imagine.
Tasks like cleaning, cooking, paying bills etc can steal precious time from your grasp.
Thanks to the internet, we have so many options available right at our hands like hiring virtual assistants from as little as $2 an hour to paying a chef to cook up all our meals for the week.
You don't have that sort of money you say? For as little as $50.00 you can drop food off to a local chef to cook up your meals for the week. Make use of websites like Gumtree or Craigslist to find people that offer this service.
Sit down and start to identify where you are losing time on silly tasks that could easily be managed by someone else.
3. Switch off social media
This is big for a lot of people.
Aimlessly scrolling the news feed is responsible for more reduction of productivity in the workforce than any other task. But this doesn’t have to be your fate too.
It also doesn’t mean you have to go deleting yourself from every app known to man. Get smart about how you use social media.
Personally, I have all notifications turned off. This stops me from being bombarded with attention stealing crap continuously distracting me from the job at hand.
Limit your time checking the news feed.
Ask yourself, “is it even necessary?” One of the best decisions I ever made was to stop looking at the news feed. In fact, I stopped looking at any type of news altogether. Is it really that important to you right now to know about NASA and their current space missions?
What I’m getting at here is instead of spending your time unproductively on social media, let's use that time to exercise.
4. Get a day planner
Just like goal setting, planning your day in a journal exponentially increases your chances of productivity during the day.
Better productivity generally equates to better use of time which hopefully means for you that you can free up a spare hour to knock out a relaxing run.
If paper books are not your thing, there's a number of Apps on the market that allow you to plan your day (and yes turning notifications on to remind you of what you should be doing is a good idea).
5️. Intermittent Fasting
What is intermittent fasting?
It’s simply a way in which you consume your food inside a specific window of time.
For example, you eat your first meal at 12.00pm and your last at 8.00pm. This would give you an 8-hour eating window.
Not only are there many health benefits to I.F, it will also reduce your time wasted preparing additional meals that would normally fall outside of these times.
This gives you that extra 30-60 minutes needed to exercise.
6. Set times to check emails
One of the biggest time killers amongst most of us is the continuous checking of emails throughout the day.
Not only is this unproductive, but also distracting.
Some of the best businessmen in the world recommend setting 2 specific times throughout the day to check email (10.00am and 4.00pm) & turn off all alerts.
Likewise, business hacker Tim Ferriss has some great advice in managing your email which can be found here: https://youtu.be/vv4N-JYTuKo
7. Get a good nights sleep
Sleep duration and quality rates right up there with a good diet.
Without getting it right, you’re going to struggle.
You’re probably thinking I’m about to recommend you cut back your sleeping hours to get some additional time to exercise right? Wrong!
I’m actually going to recommend you sleep more, especially if sleep is one area of your life you have not prioritised.
Getting a good nights sleep has a number of benefits that shouldn’t be ignored. From improving body composition, concentration, productivity, athletic performance, health and so on.
On the flip side, lack of sleep or poor sleep quality will have the opposite effect & for most hard-working folk, sleep is not prioritised.
The way I see it is it’s not the amount of time that you’re awake that counts, it’s what you do with the time that you’re awake. I believe someone sleeping 8-hours a night that's productive and focused all day will always trump someone sleeping for 6-hours & feeling lethargic & hazy all day.
Now, although you leave yourself 2-hours less in the day to fit in exercise, you give yourself the ability to get more work done in a shorter period of time, plus your mood will generally dictate your actions.
That means the likelihood of you deciding to fit in some exercise into the schedule is far greater when you’re feeling good than it is when you’re feeling run down & tired.
What are some great ways to improve your sleep?
First of all, you need to set a schedule. Everyone seems to have a wake-up alarm set, but what about an alarm telling us to sleep?
Prioritise a time that no matter what you will be in bed ready to sleep. Just like goal setting, failing to plan is planning to fail so set a sleep alarm.
Next step is to maximise your quality of sleep.
This means removing as much light as you can. Blackout windows, cover electronic lights, do what you can to get the room as dark as possible.
In his book Lights out by T.S Wiley, he mentions blacking out the room as one of the most important steps you can take to improving your sleep.
Also look at supplementing with Magnesium before bed if you have a hard time switching off. Magnesium is very effective at calming neurotransmitters in the brain making it a lot easier to switch off when the time calls for it.
Different types of magnesium do different things so look for Magnesium Citrate, Glycinate or Chelate to help with sleep.
8. Do not multitask
It’s been proven time and time again by studies that multitasking not only can’t be done, but it is a terrible way to be efficient.
In his book The myth of multitasking, Dave Crenshaw gives a number of simple activities you can do that prove focusing on two activities at once is a poor move.
All that you’re really doing is switching between the two separate tasks.
From now on, stick to one job at a time and focus all your energy on that. This will save you a serious amount of time throughout your day.
9. Use smart apps
There are a number of mobile Apps on the market right now that have been made specifically for you to cut down on time.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Waze is a GPS navigation app the works the same way as Maps to get you to your desired location, but here’s the catch.
With apps like google maps, they take you on main roads and highways to get you to your desired location, not necessarily the fastest route.
With Waze, it will send you on the fastest route, just be prepared to venture down a few roads off the beaten path.
Evernote is an app that gives you the opportunity to log notes efficiently.
From articles you want to save to an Instagram quote that resonates with you, simply open Evernote with one tap & save that link, photo or video for later viewing.
Documents (google drive):
Sick and tired of sorting through paperwork clogging up your desk?
Documents by google drive gives you the option to make virtual copies & store them in folders for easy viewing.
If your job or business consists of ridiculous amounts of paperwork, this will be heaven sent.
If you’re like me & spend stupid amounts of time going through your work & checking for spelling & grammar errors, then Grammarly will do it all for you.
Think spell check on steroids, Grammarly will take your proof-reading to the next level & the best thing is you can add an extension to google chrome for a simple one-click edit of your work. I'm using the extension right now to write this blog post as efficiently as possible.
10. Make the time
The previous 9 helpful tips for ways to save time in order to exercise have all been that exactly, ways to save time.
This last tip may hurt your soul a little.
Sometimes we need to make the time.
You see, we all have the same amount of time in the day to “prioritise” how we want to spend it.
At the moment, it would seem that exercise is not in your top priorities and that's O.K, but it's time for a change.
You need to start looking at exercise from more of an existential viewpoint. Exercise is a part of life, it keeps you on this earth for a longer period of time, it helps you to optimise your productivity and it gives you the energy to live your best life!
It’s not just a way to keep in shape, its a key area that you can not continue to ignore.
Stop looking at exercise as a chore and start looking at it as an opportunity, an opportunity for you to improve, to be better in every aspect of your life because that's what exercise is.
It’s a prerequisite to happiness in all other areas of your life.
Now I’m not telling you to go run a marathon tomorrow, all I’m asking is to find an exercise you enjoy whether that be bowling or jazz dancing & incorporate it into your routine.
I promise you now, it will be one of the best investments you ever make…